Skylar Grey

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Skylar Grey
Skylar Grey at Tibet Talk for World Peace (cropped).jpg
Skylar Grey singing at the Tibet Talk For World Peace in July 2011
Background information
Birth name Holly Brook Hafermann[1]
Also known as Holly Brook[2]
Born (1986-02-23) February 23, 1986 (age 29)
Origin Mazomanie, Wisconsin, United States
Genres
Occupation(s)
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • guitar
Years active 2004–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.skylargreymusic.com

Holly Brook Hafermann (born February 23, 1986), who goes by the stage name Skylar Grey, is an American singer and songwriter from Mazomanie, Wisconsin. In 2004, under the moniker Holly Brook, at the age of 17, she signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group and a recording contract with Linkin Park’s Warner Bros. Recordslabel imprint, Machine Shop Recordings. She would later release her debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, under the labels in 2006.

In 2010, she co-wrote Eminem and Rihanna's hit single "Love the Way You Lie" alongside British record producer Alex da Kid, who subsequently signed her to his label imprint, KIDinaKORNER. Grey is perhaps best known as a guest vocalist on several hit singles, including Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go", Diddy's "Coming Home", Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor", T.I.'s "New National Anthem", and Nicki Minaj's "Bed of Lies". Grey's second album, Don't Look Down, was released in July 2013. The album was preceded by four singles: "C'mon Let Me Ride" (featuring Eminem), "Final Warning", "Wear Me Out" and "White Suburban".

Life and career[edit]

1994–2004: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

As a child, Grey performed professionally in a folk duo with her mother, called Generations.[3] Together, with producer and engineer Randy Green, they independently produced three albums, Dream Maker, Lift Me, and Millennial Child / Waiting for You. Grey started her first band at the age of 15, after 'sneaking' into bars and working with jazz musicians Jeff Eckles, Tim Whalen and Leo Sidran in Madison, Wisconsin.[citation needed] In 2003, Grey moved to Los Angeles and recorded a demo under the alias Holly Brook, which would be her stage name for several years.[citation needed] This demo led to her being signed in the fall of 2004 by Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson, to the band's vanity label, Machine Shop Recordings, at the age of 18.[citation needed]

2005–10: Like Blood Like Honey[edit]

Main article: Like Blood Like Honey

Grey co-wrote "Done Like Me" and "She Said", alongside Jon Ingoldsby and American actress Brie Larson, for Larson's first and only album, Finally Out of P.E. (2005). In 2005, Grey was featured on American hip hop group Fort Minor's songs, "Where'd You Go" and "Be Somebody".[citation needed] "Where'd You Go" was released as a single on April 14, 2006, with an accompanying music video following soon after. The song gained commercial success and ended up becoming a top four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and also became certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After working with music producer Jonathan Ingoldsby, Grey released her debut album, titled Like Blood Like Honey, on June 6, 2006, under Warner Bros. Records. The album peaked at number 35 on Billboard‍‍ '​‍s Heatseekers Albums chart.[4] During this time, Grey had landed opening spots for concert tours with Jamie Cullum, k.d. lang, Daniel Powter, Teddy Geiger and Duncan Sheik.[citation needed]

Through her connections from Machine Shop Records, Grey became closely affiliated with Linkin Park affiliates Styles of Beyond and Apathy. She was even featured on two tracks titled "Victim" and "No Sad Tomorrow", from Apathy's second studio album, Wanna Snuggle? (2009). Grey toured as part of Duncan Sheik's band and contributed substantially to his 2009 album, Whisper House. In 2009, Grey appeared as a backing vocalist on Eurovision contestant Yohanna's debut album, Butterflies and Elvis. In August 2009, still under the alias Holly Brook, she lent both her song "It's Raining Again" and her image to a promotional campaign for Ciao Water.[5][6] In early 2010, she performed in the theatrical version of "Whisper House," playing one of the two lead ghost vocalists, along with David Poe.[7] On June 10, 2010, she self-released the seven-song extended play (EP), O’Dark:Thirty. Production of the EP was handled by Duncan Sheik and Jon Ingoldsby.[8]

2010–11: New direction and name change[edit]

Brook later changed her stage name to Skylar Grey. She was still living in Oregon and had no recognition as Skylar Grey. Grey went to New York to meet her publisher Jennifer Blakeman, to seek help presenting her work. Blakeman had suggested that she work with English musician and record producer Alex da Kid. Grey contacted Alex da Kid via e-mail. Alex da Kid sent Grey a few tracks that he had been working on. The first song Grey wrote was "Love The Way You Lie".[9] Grey's song "Love the Way You Lie" was given to American rapper Eminem and Barbadian singer Rihanna. Their version became a worldwide hit, reaching number one on 26 charts and being nominated for four Grammy Awards. Grey earned a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year, for her writing contributions to "Love the Way You Lie".[10] Grey wrote the hook to all three versions of "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna, and even recorded a solo version that was later featured on her fourth EP, The Buried Sessions of Skylar Grey (2012).

Alex da Kid went on to sign Skylar Grey to a production deal on his KIDinaKORNER record label imprint.[11] In 2010, Grey also co-wrote and was featured on Diddy – Dirty Money's single "Coming Home", which gained massive commercial success.[12] Also in 2010, Grey co-wrote "Castle Walls" by American rapper T.I. and American pop singer Christina Aguilera.[13]

On February 1, 2011, American rapper and renowned hip hop producer Dr. Dre released a song titled "I Need a Doctor", featuring Grey and Eminem.[14] "I Need a Doctor" managed to peak at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. Grey made her national television debut under her new alias during the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, where she performed "I Need a Doctor", alongside Eminem and Dr. Dre. During this time, Grey announced she began working on her album then-titled Invinsible. In March 2011, it was revealed Grey signed to Interscope Records, through Alex da Kid's KIDinaKORNER and announced she would be releasing a single in the spring.[15] On March 10, 2011, Diddy – Dirty Money performed "Coming Home", alongside Grey, live on American Idol.[16] Later in 2011, Grey was featured on a song titled "Words I Never Said", the second single from Lupe Fiasco's Lasers (2011). Grey and Lupe Fiasco performed the song on The Colbert Report, on May 9, 2011.

Grey released her debut single, "Dance Without You", on June 6, 2011.[17] The song later received a music video, which was released on July 5.[18] "Dance Without You" was featured in the 2012 film Step Up Revolution.[19] Grey's second single and formerly her second album's title-track, "Invisible", was released to radio on June 16. On July 9, 2011, Grey performed live at the World Peace Event in Washington, DC, appearing alongside the 14th Dalai Lama.[20][21]

On August 6, 2011, she performed at the 20th annual Lollapalooza festival, as both a solo artist and with Eminem, during the song "I Need a Doctor". The next day, while passing by the area where YouTube sensation Karmin was recording their cover of "I Need A Doctor," Grey joined the duo for an impromptu performance.[22] Grey also performed alongside aspiring rapper Eli Porter, on the September 20, 2011 episode of Tosh.0. In October 2011, Grey was featured on American DJ and music producer Kaskade's seventh album Fire & Ice, writing and singing on two versions of the song "Room for Happiness", which became the album's third single and earned her another Grammy nomination.[23]

2012–14: Don't Look Down and collaborations[edit]

Grey performing in 2014

On April 1, 2012, Grey appeared alongside American rapper Machine Gun Kelly, for a performance of his single "Invincible", at WWE's Wrestlemania XXVIII event, prior to John Cena making his entrance.[24][25] In August 2012, appeared twice as a guest vocalist on American hip hop supergroup Slaughterhouse's second album, Welcome to: Our House (2012). In September 2012, Grey's song "Building a Monster", was featured on the soundtrack to Tim Burton's Frankenweenie.[26][27]

In 2012, Grey co-wrote Russian-German electronic dance musician Zedd's 2012 single "Clarity", which won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2014.[28] On October 31, 2012, Grey announced Eminem would executive produce her new album and revealed she had changed the title from Invinsible to Don't Look Down.[29][30] On December 11, 2012, Grey released her album's lead single "C'mon Let Me Ride", which was produced by Alex da Kid and features Eminem, via digital distribution. The single was later serviced to radio on January 15, 2013.[31]

In February 2013, American recording artist CeeLo Green, released a single titled "Only You", which he co-wrote alongside Skylar Grey.[32] On March 8, 2013, Grey performed a six song set for "Guitar Center Sessions" on DirecTV. The episode also included an interview with Grey by the host of the program, Nic Harcourt.[33] Grey also contributed an exclusive song, titled "Slowly Freaking Out", to the soundtrack album for the film 2013 film The Host, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer,[34] In April 2013, Grey contributed to will.i.am's fourth solo album #willpower, on the song "Love Bullets".[35]

On April 7, 2013, for the second consecutive year, Grey appeared at WWE's Wrestlemania event, this time in front of 80,676 fans, where she performed "Coming Home", with Sean "Diddy" Combs.[25] "Coming Home" was one of the official theme songs of Wrestlemania XXIX.[36] On April 16, 2013, Grey released Don't Look Down‍ '​s second single, titled "Final Warning", via digital distribution.[37] On June 4, 2014, Grey released "Wear Me Out", the album's third single.[38] Grey's second album Don't Look Down., was released July 5, 2013. In its first week of release the album debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 24,000 copies in the United States.[39]

In September 2013, Grey released a music video for her cover version of Daft Punk's hit single "Get Lucky".[40] In October 2013, Grey appeared on the track "The Last Day" on Moby's eleventh album Innocents[41] On October 17, 2013, Grey previewed a new cover of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" in a trailer for the 2014 remake of Endless Love.[42][43] In November 2013, she appeared on Eminem's eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, on a track titled "Asshole".[44]

On January 20, 2014, Grey released a song titled "Shot Me Down", with David Guetta, a cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".[45] The song was successful charting in the top ten in several countries. In March 2014, a new collaboration with American recording artist Kid Cudi, titled "Hero", was recorded for the Need for Speed film and released on the film's official soundtrack.[46] In August 2014, Grey appeared on American rapper T.I.'s song "New National Anthem", from his ninth album, Paperwork.[47] In November 2014, Grey featured on Shady XV, a compilation album performed by various artists of Shady Records, on "Twisted" alongside Eminem and Yelawolf.[48] In 2014, Grey teamed with American rapper Nicki Minaj to co-write the song "Bed of Lies", from Minaj's third album, The Pinkprint. Grey sang on the recording and performed it alongside Minaj at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards and the December 6, 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live.

2015–present: Upcoming album[edit]

Grey confirmed on her official Instagram account that her third studio album would be released in 2015. In February 2015, Grey released a song from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack called "I Know You". The song was acclaimed by music critics and also reached the top spot on iTunes of numerous countries. Also in February, Grey confirmed she has a song on the Furious 7 soundtrack, called "I Will Return". In March 2015, she released her version of "Addicted to Love" on iTunes, and also re-released the song "Words", which was deleted from the iTunes Store, in 2013. On March 29, 2015, Grey appeared at her third WrestleMania event, performing a medley of "Rise" and "Money and the Power", at the thirty-first annual event, alongside Travis Barker and Kid Ink.[49]

Artistry[edit]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Grey has listed Shirley Manson of Garbage, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, Marilyn Manson, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sarah McLachlan, Eminem and Death Cab for Cutie, as her influences.[50][51][52]

Stage name[edit]

Grey explained that she thought her stage name "represents the unknowns in life. People seem to be afraid of the unknowns, but I’m the complete opposite. I dive into the unknown because I feel like that’s where all your possibilities come from."[53] She explained to Beatweek that she chose "grey" with an e rather than an a because "I like to do things the original way" and because "it’s more masculine. I'm not a very feminine person."[54]

Discography[edit]

Albums released with Generations
  • Dream Maker (1996)
  • Lift Me (1998)
  • Millenial Child/Waiting for You (2000)

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Lennon or McCartney Herself

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Tosh.0 Herself Episode "Eli Porter"
2013–
14
Saturday Night Live Herself Season 39, Episode 5 (Performer)
Season 40, Episode 8 (Performer)

Web[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Grizzly Diaries Herself 1 Episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy awards[edit]

Year Award Nomination Result
2011 Song of the Year "Love the Way You Lie" (as songwriter) Nominated
Best Rap Song Nominated
2012 "I Need a Doctor" (with Eminem & Dr. Dre) Nominated
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Award Nomination Result
2006 Ringtone of the Year "Where'd You Go" (with Fort Minor) Won

Variety's Breakthrough of the Year Awards[edit]

Year Award Nomination Result
2014 'Music Up Next' Breakthrough Award Skylar Grey[55][56] Won

Vevocertified Awards[edit]

Year Award Nomination Result
2011 100.000.000 Views "Coming Home" (with Diddy-Dirty Money) Won
"I Need a Doctor" (with Eminem & Dr. Dre Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Otter, Charlotte (July 17, 2010). "String of hits gives Da Kid a break". Music Week (28). p. 10. Archived from the original on January 17, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jeanne (2011). "Skylar Grey: Changes to the Holly Brook mailing list: Holly Brook announces new name, "Skylar Grey"". Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ Samara Kalk, Rhythm Profile, Wisconsin State Journal, December 27, 2001.
  4. ^ "Holly Brook Album & Song Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ "c i a o". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ Ernest Baker. "Ciao Water Commercial - Who Is Skylar Grey? - Complex UK". Complex UK. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ McNulty, Charles (2010-01-24). "Theater review: 'Whisper House' at San Diego's Old Globe*". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ "HOLLY BROOK – O’Dark Thirty". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Skylar Grey: The Changeling". SPIN. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Eminem, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga Lead Grammy Nominations via Billboard
  11. ^ Alex Da Kid signs Skylar Grey to Wonderland Entertainment via Billboard
  12. ^ Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey – "Coming Home" via Rap-Up
  13. ^ Alex Da Kid names Skylar Grey as writer for "Castle Walls" by T.I. & Christina Aguilera via Rap-Up
  14. ^ Dr. Dre reunites with Eminem via RollingStone
  15. ^ "Skylar Grey Signs to Interscope, Single Due This Spring". Rap-Up. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Diddy-Dirty Money, Sklyar Grey Bring "Coming Home" to American Idol". MTV. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Skylar Grey - Dance Without You". YouTube. July 5, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  19. ^ Step Up Revolution#Songs featured
  20. ^ "Skylar Grey sings during the World Peace Event on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)". Yahoo News. July 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Skylar Grey Performs For The Dalai Lama At The U.S. Capitol | News". B96 Chicago. July 11, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Lollapalooza 2011: Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam". Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam. billboard.com. 
  23. ^ AMP Radio 97.1 - Skylar Grey Is Proud Of Her GRAMMY Nom With Kaskade Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  24. ^ "WrestleMania XXVIII Celebrities: photos". WWE. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "WrestleMania shatters records". WWE. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  26. ^ "The WOLF Morning Show: The Band Perry Toast Latest #1 Hit and Look Forward to Sophomore Project!". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  27. ^ The Band Perry Collaborating with Sheryl Crow & "Love the Way You Lie" Writer - ABC News Radio, February 28, 2012
  28. ^ "Past Winners Search". The GRAMMYs. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  29. ^ "ThisGoesIn – Skylar Grey Talks New Single With Eminem, Scraps ‘Invinsible’ Project - News". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Eminem to Executive Produce Skylar Grey’s Debut Album". Rap-Up. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Bender and Molly in the Morning". 106.1 KISS FM Seattle. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  32. ^ "iTunes - Music - Only You (feat. Lauriana Mae) - Single by Cee Lo Green". iTunes. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  33. ^ Guitar Center Sessions with host Nic Harcourt Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  34. ^ THE HOST. CHOOSE TO LISTEN To Be Released March 26th On KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  35. ^ will.i.am To Release Brand-New Album #willpower On April 23 Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  36. ^ "Sean “Diddy” Combs musical performance: photos". WWE. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  37. ^ "iTunes - Música - Final Warning - Single de Skylar Grey". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  38. ^ "iTunes - Musik – "Wear Me Out - Single" von Skylar Grey". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  39. ^ Grein, Paul (2013-07-16). "Week Ending July 14, 2013. Albums: Jay-Z Back On The Throne | Chart Watch - Yahoo! Music". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  40. ^ Media’s Future, As Seen Through One Clunky ‘Get Lucky’ Cover - The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2013.
  41. ^ "innocents - new album from moby - moby.com". moby.com. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  42. ^ "'Endless Love'". MTV. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Addicted To Love - Skylar Grey Version". YouTube. February 7, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  44. ^ "EMINEM - MMLP2 Tracklisting". www.eminem.com. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  45. ^ "David Guetta,Skylar Grey — Shot Me Down [Jack Back Records] :: Beatport". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Various Artists: Need For Speed - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Music on Google Play". Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  47. ^ "NEW MUSIC: T.I. F/ SKYLAR GREY – ‘NEW NATIONAL ANTHEM’". Rap-Up. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  48. ^ "SHADYXV Tracklist Revealed + New Merch Colorways Released". Shady Records. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  49. ^ Martin, Adam. "Skylar Grey, Kid Ink, Travis Barker will be at WrestleMania 31". wrestleview.com. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  50. ^ "Skylar Grey Was Known As Holly Brook Prior To Meeting Eminem". RapFix. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  51. ^ "Garbage picks up again with 'Not Your Kind of People'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  52. ^ M. Sean Ryan. "10 Questions: Skylar Grey". BMI.com. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  53. ^ Mandi Bierly. "Skylar Grey talks about her name change". EW. p. 4. Archived from the original on Feb 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  54. ^ Skylar Grey: the Beatweek interview with the future of pop music via Beatweek Magazine
  55. ^ http://www.skylargreynews.com/2014/01/10/skylar-grey-dcclxxvii-variety’s-2014-‘music-up-next’-breakthrough-winner-–-breakthrough-of-the-year-awards-9-jan-2014-photos/
  56. ^ Marc Graser. "‘Veronica Mars’ Rob Thomas Calls Fans’ Funding ‘A Miracle’ at Variety Awards". Variety. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]